If you live under a rock and haven’t heard, 24-year-old Right Wing darling Tomi Lahren fell into a burning ring of fire this week after going on The View and declaring herself pro-choice. While on the talk show she said,
“I am a constitutional, someone that loves the Constitution. I’m someone that’s for limited government. So I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies. I can sit here and say that, as a Republican and I can say, you know what, I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.”
The South Dakota native and UNLV grad came under massive scrutiny after the show and then this Monday, it was reported she is under suspension with her network. Some people have speculated that it’s a stunt to end her contract with ‘The Blaze’ (her contract is reportedly up in September but rumors have made it seem like Tomi is seeking greener, more lucrative pastures), while others are just pointing out hypocrisy given that she made pro-life insinuations back in October.
Regardless of why or whatever the motivation behind the 80 word statement that rocked the world happened to be, the consequences have been staggering. Before the 20th, when the suspension was revealed, Glenn Beck, the founder of ‘The Blaze’ tweeted out several things that were pretty clearly aimed at Tomi.
Rule another label out. I am NOT a "constitutional". I believe in LIFE, liberty and property. Just an old fashioned "constitutionalist."
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) March 17, 2017
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) March 20, 2017
I will not lie, when I first saw The Daily Beast reporting that Tomi was suspended, I laughed. I got a good ol’ snowflake LOL out of it. This loud mouth, angry, wannabe-redneck woman who loves to hate on things that don’t line up with her ideology isn’t getting access to her Facebook (where she averages 5 millions views per video) or a platform? HA. HA. THAT’S HILARIOUS.
And then, I took a step back. (And I took a two and a half hour bath but that is neither here nor there.)
Here’s the thing about Tomi Lahren. I sincerely believe to a certain extent, she’s playing into an idea. A character, if you will. She’s going to pose in camouflage and say things like “‘Murica!!” and make a big stink about keeping your hands off the guns we all know she doesn’t actually own or know how to operate because at the end of the day, it without question assists her career. It is the fuel to her fanbase. It is a huge reason why her videos garner the reaction, response, and reception that they do.
And that is because Tomi, political affiliation completely aside, is a driven, goal-oriented, obviously intelligent millennial female living and operating in the digital age.
She knows what she’s doing.
She knows exactly who her audience is and how to get their attention and hold it. Essentially, it’s verbal clickbait. And she is very, very, very good at it. She knows how to play the character that her audience (haters 1010% included) expects, and she’s more than happy to do so.
But the thing about The View was that I don’t think that was a character. That is, as she tried to explain as best she could in 4 sentences, Constitutionalism 101. That’s a political ideology, not a performance. That’s not a personality, that’s a belief.
And to be literally silenced because of clearly and eloquently speaking your political beliefs? That’s not an LOL. That’s censorship.
To see that a 24-year-old woman is being told, “No, you’re not allowed to say that.” by (probably) a bunch of 50-something, cis, straight, white guys? That’s the antithesis of feminism for one and very scary overall. Celebrating that is not celebrating a win. It is stomping all over the idea of being a fully functioning organism as a country. It is furthering the divide we so terribly have in this nation, and adding kindling to the fire of the very audience you claim to despise.
It is saying, “If your ideas don’t match with mine, you shouldn’t ever speak.”
That is not how progress is made. Progress rarely comes with a fresh-out-the-dryer blanket and a cup of tea and a bunch of ASMR. Progress is often messy. Often uncomfortable. And it’s almost never about saying, “Ah yes, we agree fully.” It’s about middle ground.
I will never, never say that Tomi Lahren doesn’t have problematic tones, stances, or ideas. She does. It’s well-documented. But I can want to scream at her for what she thinks about the economy, and still support her right to think it. I can say, “You need to check your privilege,” and still fundamentally believe she has the constitutional right to say, yes out loud, what she thinks as a political commentator.
We should be questioning this more, not creating memes out of her. Saying you support a woman’s right to choose is not hate speech, so why is it being treated as such? This is not Milo Yiannopoulos. This is not saying pedophilia is okay, and yet, we’re cheering for it in the same fashion.
Doesn’t that seem a bit backwards?
In regards to Constitutionalism William H. Hamilton said,
“[It] is the name given to the trust which men repose in the power of words engrossed on parchment to keep a government in order.”
Regardless of what you call yourself, think about it. When our government, and our people, take away the power we have with our words, what do we have?
It’s something I hope we don’t continue to try and find out.